Winterization is the process of preparing a home for the harsh conditions of winter. It is usually performed in the fall before the snow and excessive cold have arrived. Winterization protects against damage due to bursting water pipes, and from heat loss due to openings in the building envelope.
Water damage caused by bursting pipes during cold weather can be devastating. A ruptured pipe will release water and not stop until someone shuts off the water. If no one is home to do this, an enormous quantity of water can flood a house and cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Even during very small ruptures or ruptures that are stopped quickly, water leakage can result in mold and property damage. Broken water pipes can be costly to repair.
Leaky window frames, door frames, and electrical outlets can allow warm air to escape into the outdoors.
The heating system is used most during the winter so it’s a good idea to make sure that it works before it’s desperately needed. The following inspection and maintenance tips can be of some help to homeowners:
Adequate winterization is especially crucial for homes that are left unoccupied during the winter. This sometimes happens when homeowners who own multiple properties leave one home vacant for months at a time while they occupy their summer homes. Foreclosed homes are sometimes left unoccupied, as well. The heat may be shut off in vacant homes in order to save money. Such homes must be winterized in order to prevent catastrophic building damage.
In addition to the information above, Lake City Inspections advises the following measures to prepare an unoccupied home for the winter:
In summary, home winterization is a collection of preventative measures designed to protect homes against damage caused by cold temperatures. These measures should be performed in the fall before it gets cold enough for damage to occur. Indoor plumbing is probably the most critical area to consider when preparing a home for winter, although other systems should not be ignored.
This article originally appeared on nachi.org and is authored by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard. It is used with permission.